The phone hasn't stopped ringing, starting with my cousin Sharon at daybreak. I reached for the phone aware that I did not feel the stab of fear I have felt every morning for the past several weeks at the first call of the day. The worst has already happened. My cousin said she just wanted to hear my voice, that I was the closest she could come to hearing my mother's voice. We talked about my mom, about how I keep wanting to call her and ask her advice as we make the arrangements.
His lodge buddies were at the house drinking with him last night. I called and tried to discuss dates for the service but it was clear he had hit a wall. "When you come on Sunday we'll work all that out," he said. As hard as my day was, his was harder. He had to go to the funeral home to make preliminary arrangements. Here in NewYork, my husband came home early from work to be with me. We spent the day quietly, making and fielding phone calls and emails and text messages from loved ones. My friends offered to come and sit with me, especially my Jewish friends whose ritual is to sit Shiva for seven days and receive guests and condolences. I loved them for wanting to come, but I felt a kind of social inertia. I think I just wanted to just be with my family last night, listening for my mom's whisper in the silence.
But here I am.
Here she is not.
1. Mommy and Daddy on Christmas Day 1994
2. Grandma Camp in St. Lucia
3. I will never again be as unconditionally loved as this.
4. Mom and Aunt Grace in my cousin's pool
5. Mom with her sister Grace, my brother and her three oldest grandkids
6. Mommy and me a few years ago
7. One of the last pictures of a very great lady
Thank you to my dear friends here for your comments and emails and loving support. I am moved that my mother is in your hearts, too. You are most certainly in mine.